Black and Latino families are in fact highly family-oriented and want to be involved in exchange networks but, because they are economically disenfranchised, they are prevented from participation. The vitriolic debate on welfare reform currently sweeping the nation assumes that if institutional mechanisms of social support are eliminated, impoverished families will simply rely on an extensive web of kinship networks for their survival. The political discourse surrounding poverty and welfare reform has an increasingly racial undertone. Implementation of social policy that presupposes the availability of family safety nets in minority communities could have disastrous consequences for many without extended kin networks. Many scholars and political analysts assume that thriving kin and non-kin social support networks continue to characterize minority family life. Policy recommendations based on these underlying assumptions may lead to the implementation of harmful social policy. No More Kin examines extended kinship networks among African American, Chicano, Puerto-Rican, and non-Hispanic white families in contemporary America and seeks to provide an integrated theoretical framework for examining how the simultaneity of gender, race, and class oppression affects minority family organization. Breaking new ground in a variety of fields, No More Kin is sure to become a valuable resource for students and professionals in family studies, gender studies, and race/ethnic studies.

The Culture-Structure Nexus

The culture-structure nexus

Simplistic notions of “culture” versus “social structure” have impeded the development of a broader theoretical framework (Wilson, 1991) from which to examine determinants of extended living arrangements and informal social support networks. Drawing heavily from Black and Chicana feminist thought (see Collins, 1990; hooks, 1981; Mirande & Enriquez, 1979; Smith, 1983; Zinn, 1990), I will now present a theoretical framework that begins to integrate social structural and cultural arguments by examining how the intersection of race, gender, and class affects family structure.

Analogous to the cultural perspective, the integrative approach is also informed by particular ideological underpinnings. My application of the integrative perspective views participation in extended kin and nonkin social support networks among minority families through a feminist lens. Although ...

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